Is profanity in blog rants okay?

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My friend Gale Molinari at Galesmind.com posted this meme yesterday.

In general, I agree with the above sentiment. We all know people who cuss constantly and after awhile it can become annoying and offensive. People who pepper every sentence with the 7 verboten words not approved by the FCC sound, well, stupid, crude and boring.

However, I also think an occasional, well placed epithet can add impact and emotional urgency under certain circumstances. We’re all grownups here, and it’s not as if we haven’t all heard these words and know what they mean. They have stuck around the English language for so long for a good reason, and while their original references to various private parts, bodily functions or female dogs in heat have been diluted by their myriad other uses in recent times, if they’re not overused, they retain their power to drive your point home.

I don’t think there are too many people who won’t tolerate an occasional F-bomb, S-bomb or even the dreaded MF-bomb when it’s warranted.

For example, if you are writing a rant about how much you hate tailgaters (one of my biggest pet peeves), it’s much more attention grabbing to write, “I want to brake-check those fuckers. I hope they all rot in hell,” than “I want to brake-check those jerks. I hope they all fall off a cliff.” Or, “I was a complete bitch to him” has more emotional power than “I wasn’t very nice to him.”

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Emotional impact what is what your rant is all about. You want your readers to feel your rage with you–you don’t want to be all polite and politically correct, a concept which is overrated as hell anyway. Because in real life, if you’re mad, really mad, you’re not going to be thinking about being polite. You are going to cuss like a drunk who just stepped on the edge of a rusty beer can.

That being said, if profanity is overused in a rant, the effect will be the opposite–then these words lose their emotional impact and you just sound like a fucking asshole or an uneducated, crude person no one wants to listen to–and your readers will go elsewhere to find another writer who doesn’t use the F-bomb as a verbal tick.

Another advantage swear words have is that they’re cathartic. It just FEELS a whole lot better to refer to that obnoxious tailgater, that psychopathic boss trying to gaslight you, or that inconsiderate person who blocks your way down the aisle at Walmart as a “fucking dick” than as a “big dumb heartless poopiehead.” You feel a little bit better, even if the words were only said safely behind the windshield of your car or muttered to yourself out of earshot.

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Swear words can be valuable tools in your writer’s toolbox, but like a high calorie, high-fat dessert, they can be bad for you if you overindulge. Use your best judgment, and of course, if using these words really makes you squirm or you really are morally opposed to them, then don’t use them.

If you’re a really good writer, there are other ways to give your rant emotional impact without using swear words. You can also use a series of keyboard symbols, such as g$#&*@&m f&%#@#g b$##&d!!

For the rest of us, profanity can be a handy shortcut to emphasize the impact of your anger, rage, shock or surprise. Just keep the kids away.

Blogging is not for pussies.

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Don’t be a pussy.

 

Anyone who blogs about a sensitive topic, especially one that focuses on mental health issues (religion and politics would be up there too), is bound to run into haters and detractors at some point. If you blog about a controversial topic, such as narcissism and narcissistic abuse (which is my #1 topic), religion, politics, or the ethical ramifications of breeding pit bulls, by default you make yourself vulnerable to online narcissists, trolls, bullies, and psychopaths. You are going to attract people who do not wish you well. It’s a built-in hazard of the trade.

Even if your blog isn’t particularly controversial or doesn’t focus on a sensitive issue, you are going to have haters and maybe even bullies. OM (Opinionated Man) is a perfect example of this (he insists he has a LOT of haters), and his blog is one of the most popular on WordPress. He doesn’t let the haters get him down, and neither should I and neither should you.

I’ve wasted a lot of time beating myself up for things beyond my control. Over people who do not wish me or my blog well. Way too often I allow other people’s negative opinions of me, my blog, or my articles to get me down and even make me want to change my blog’s focus or remove posts that I thought might have offended them.

You cannot please everyone. It’s not possible. If by some fluke you somehow do please everyone, then you probably have the most boring blog in the universe, one that’s all sweetness and light 24/7, and never approaches anything the slightest bit triggering or controversial.

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Someone is going to be offended.

Even if you blog about something as benign as cake decorating or flower arranging, you are probably going to offend someone. Maybe someone doesn’t like the fact you write recipes using cream cheese icing instead of buttercream, or vice versa. Maybe they are diabetics who take offense to the fact you don’t include sugarless cake decorations in your recipes. They might even assume you are prejudiced against people with diabetes. Maybe someone doesn’t like the color yellow in your floral arrangements because they have bad associations with that color. Maybe they are angry at you because the flowers are dead and they are are morally opposed to killing plant life for ornamental purposes. They could be offended by your fonts or your layout. Maybe they hate your avatar because your picture reminds them of their rude neighbor who lets their dog bark all night and revs their engine every morning at 5 AM.  You have no control over these things.  My point is that no matter what you blog about, someone is going to take offense.

If you can’t stand having bullies and haters, you probably shouldn’t be blogging at all. If you blog about a sensitive or controversial issue, as I do, you are going to attract even more of them than you would if you only blogged about cake decorating or flower arranging or baby koalas.

The Green-Eyed Monster.

Some people are also going to be jealous of you. If your blog becomes successful, expect to have haters. That’s probably why OM has so many haters. His blog is one of the most popular and well-known on the Internet. I’m not tooting my own horn here, but I’ve noticed as my blog has grown, I also have acquired more haters and critics. As a self-identified HSP (highly sensitive person), this realization has been hard for me to accept. I need to grow a thicker skin and just write about what I want and not worry about what the haters think.

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On Political Correctness.

I don’t like political correctness. I don’t like feeling like I have to censor my own thoughts and feelings, because openness and honesty has made my blog what it is. If my words offend someone, they just need to deal with it. If they hate me or my blog, sucks for them.  There are other blogs they can read instead. No one is holding a gun to their head telling them they have to read this blog. I even have an Escape button that will take them to the Huffington Post (it’s not lost on me that some may be offended by THAT). It’s not like I’m the only voice on the Internet that addresses the issues I write the most about. There are hundreds of others.

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I’m a natural pessimist. If I enter a room and everyone is friendly and welcoming except for one person who scowls at me, I’m the type who will fret and ruminate about that one grumpy person rather than feel blessed and grateful that everyone else is happy to see me. Focusing on that one negative person keeps me from enjoying the party.

It’s the same thing with blogging. I have a lot of supporters and friends in the blogging community. There are lots of people who enjoy my blog posts and visit every day. I shouldn’t worry about the few people who are critical of me or my blog, because they don’t matter. They are probably not the sort of people I would want to have as friends anyway.

So, if you blog, don’t be a wuss. Grow a tougher skin and accept the fact you are going to have haters. You don’t have to approve their comments. You don’t have to search Google to see what your detractors may be saying about you. You don’t have to let their vitriol ruin your day. They don’t matter.

Don’t censor yourself. Most people will be able to tell if you are trying to hard to be “politically correct,” and your blog will become boring and insincere and no one will want to read it.   People aren’t stupid and can tell if you’re not being honest or are censoring yourself because of your fear of criticism or offending someone.

Blog from your heart and soul. Be courageous. Write about what you want, no matter how controversial. Don’t be afraid to stir the pot and stand by your heartfelt opinions, even if they are unpopular ones.

Tell the haters to take a hike. You are going to have them. They don’t matter.

On political correctness and the inevitability of offending people

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Blogging isn’t all fun and games. Sometimes it can be a real challenge. I’m beginning to experience a few of these challenges for the first time and at times I even feel like I’m possibly in over my head.

As this blog has grown and become more visible, I’m beginning to face a few of the problems that most blogs and websites are eventually faced with if the subject they focus on has even the slightest potential to be construed as offensive or controversial and the website remains publicly accessible.

A few days ago, a blogger who suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID, formerly known as Multiple Personality Disorder or MPD) called me out for giving outdated and incorrect information about DID. I do not follow this blog, but the admin was very upset about one of my posts, which no longer exists on this blog. In addition to giving outdated information, I referred to their personalities as “fragmented” instead of entire personalities within the same person that are known as “alters.”

Not being very confrontational and not caring much about that particular post anyway (it wasn’t one of my best and I admit I did not have current information about DID), it was easier to just delete it and not have to go head to head with someone over a post I didn’t even care much about.

Today I found a trackback in my comments folder to an article this same blogger wrote where I was again called out for giving misinformation. I have also been criticized by this person for having a joke page about people with NPD and for writing about a disorder that I do not myself have.

As for the jokes: my intention was never to offend anyone, including people with NPD or any other mental or personality disorder. I put up the joke page not to enrage people with NPD but as a tool we victims of narcissistic abuse can use to lighten our moods. When we read jokes about the types of people who have been abusing us, it makes them seem less threatening and therefore easier to deal with. Personally I’ve always believed laughter is medicine and when we can laugh at what is hurting us, that thing ceases to have so much power over us. Besides, most of the jokes aren’t even my own. They are links to other websites and pages or copies of cartoons other people have made. I think only the “12 Steps of Narcissism” one is my own.

Our MNs and psychopaths have hurt us so often and so badly that sometimes it just feels good to be able to laugh at them (instead of the other way around, which has often been our experience with them). This isn’t to make light of this devastating disorder or to demonize them. I do not hate narcissists, I feel sorry for them.

It may surprise some, but I actually have a great deal of empathy for people with NPD who want to change or who suffer due to their disorder. Those who are aware of their disorder suffer enormously in ways we, as people who do not have NPD, cannot even begin to imagine. As much as they may seem like machines or robots or devils to us, they are still human beings and as some of us have seen for ourselves in the past week right here in this blog, they have very sensitive feelings and do not take jokes at their expense well.

I have said before that I will welcome any narcissist who has enough insight to write honestly about their disorder and/or who is in pain because of it or who wants help. Two days ago I received an email from one that made me cry because I was so happy she was seeking help. So I do care about them. I cannot help them here and am certainly not qualified to give psychological advice to them but I can possibly help point them in the right direction to get help. I do not hate narcissists. I hate what they do and the way they act. But this blog is not intended to help narcissists, even though they may come here. It’s intended to help those of us who have been targets of their actions.

I do not believe in political correctness, at least not when it’s taken to ridiculous extremes the way it sometimes is. We live in such a litigious society and almost everything can be construed as offensive. It can get pretty ridiculous. Of course this doesn’t mean I’m going to go around using racial slurs or make sexist remarks. I’m not going to say you’re deluded or mentally deficient or a bad person because of your religion, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. That’s not cool and pretty much anyone with an iota of respect for others will avoid saying those things.

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As for this blogger’s opinion that I am not qualified to write about NPD because I do not have NPD myself, I call bullshit on that. How many people who have NPD are writing about NPD? Sam Vaknin, and that’s about it. Is only he and mental health professionals allowed to write about NPD? I feel that, having been very close to several malignant narcissists in my lifetime, gives me a unique perspective on the disorder different from that of a sufferer or a mental health professional and makes me every bit as qualified to write about it. There are many of us who write about NPD, a whole community of us, and we are finding healing by writing about what was done to us and how to cope with the narcissists in our lives. For some of us who are still in an abusive relationship with a narc, or who can’t afford therapy, writing about it is the only hope we have.

So I’m also not going to allow one disgruntled blogger (in this case, one who doesn’t even suffer from NPD) to make me fear speaking my mind or keep me from sharing my opinions on a blog that is meant primarily as a form of self-therapy and support for others who have experienced similar situations with their narcissists. I am going to remain completely honest on this blog, about my thoughts, opinions and feelings. Not everyone who reads them is going to like what I have to say, or agree with it. But if I start censoring what I say for fear of offending someone, then this blog ceases to be the haven of honesty and I will have sold out. And selling out is something I simply will not do.

This is my blog, and these are my feelings, and I will continue to write whatever I want about narcissists for as long as the topic is of interest to me. Again, what I write is not intended to offend those with NPD or any other disorder. It’s intended to help US, the victims of abuse. In the process a few toes will be stepped on, and that’s just the way it is.

I will never set this blog up where you will be required to sign in to read posts. I can’t stand that and will usually bypass a website that requires me to sign in. That said, I am beginning to understand why some website owners and bloggers require people to sign in with a password, especially if it’s a topic that is controversial or sensitive. I hope I never have to do that.

I looked to see if I could make the “jokes” page semi-private (where only my followers could see it) but unfortunately there is no way I can do that. I could make it password-protected, but anyone who wanted to read the jokes would have to know the password and that’s simply too difficult to do, so for now, I will leave the page up as a publicly accessible page. Most people have told me they don’t mind the jokes and even find them helpful in making the narcissist seem less dangerous in their minds.

It’s hard for me when I get negative feedback or someone takes offense to something I said. It’s scary as a fairly new blogger whose blog is growing so fast and becoming visible much quicker than I thought it would. But it’s something that I will need to learn to deal with and get used to. No matter how politically correct you try to be, someone is always going to find something to be offended about, especially on a blog that focuses on such a sensitive subject as mental illness and abuse.

Please provide feedback. I would like to hear your thoughts.

The “War on Christmas”? Bah humbug.

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Certain Christians who celebrate Christmas (not all Christians do) have lately been bellyaching via blogs, bumper stickers, and various memes that there is a “war on Christmas” going on. Even some conservative Christian politicians have been bloviating about this alleged “war on Christmas.” Where are the tiny violins?

I find it all a bit mystifying because if anything Christmas is more in your face today than it ever was before. The holiday season used to start the day after Thanksgiving; now it starts the day after Halloween, and even Thanksgiving has been insidiously taken over by a day celebrating the spirit of greed called “Black Friday”–which now has edged into “Black Thursday,” meaning many stores are now open on Thanksgiving so people can stock up on cheap TVs and other appliances to give their holiday shopping a head start.

You can’t get away from Christmas. Everywhere you turn, it’s buy this, buy that; give this, give that; host a big holiday bash or else; and you’re either a Scrooge or a sucky parent/lover/friend/employee if you don’t blindly obey these messages that are blasted into our ears 24/7 for an entire month or more.

If you don’t have the funds to give extravagant gifts or host lavish parties and holiday dinners with all the trimmings or the time or desire to decorate a 10 foot Christmas tree and bedeck your entire house with exterior lights, you are made to feel defective–and Scroogelike. And it’s getting worse and more in your face every year.

So Christmas itself is having no problems. I don’t see any war against it going on.

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I think what the “war on Christmas” actually refers to is cards, banners, signs, and greetings that say “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings” instead of the more Christian-centric “Merry Christmas.” Those who complain about the war on Christmas are objecting to the political correctness of those attempting to be all-inclusive–because after all, America is a melting-pot nation that includes Jews, Muslims, atheists and people of other faiths besides Christianity. “Seasons Greetings” is convenient and covers at least the Jews who celebrate Hanukkah and African Americans who celebrate Kwanzaa (who probably also celebrate Christmas). In fact, I know a lot of Jews who celebrate both Hanukkah AND Christmas. Christmas has become more of an American holiday than a religious one–and a handy excuse for Big Business to rake in big bucks.

“Seasons Greetings” has been on Christmas cards for as long as I can remember (and I’ve been around quite a while), but it didn’t seem to me that anyone minded that until the past 10-20 years or so. Personally, I think it’s petty and stupid to make such a big deal about it. “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holiday” doesn’t exclude Christians, but for some reason certain Christians think that such a greeting is a sign of hostility against them or Christmas itself. I think there are far more important things for them to be worrying about besides the printed message on a holiday oops Christmas card that will probably be tossed in the trash the week after New Years’ anyway.

Here’s a news flash: There is no “War on Christmas.” It’s all in your head.